Part I

Question: What would be the best way to calm the restless and unruly vital?1

Sri Chinmoy: Restlessness takes you away from your Source. Restless people will never be pleased; nothing will ever give them joy. There is a very effective way to calm the restless vital, and that is with the poise of the soul. The soul's poise is like the bottom of the Pacific Ocean — very still and very deep. Each individual has the soul's poise. In my case, my soul's poise is my absolutely best quality.

You have many good qualities, but your best quality is your heart's golden luminosity. When you see something luminous, you get tremendous joy. The heart's luminosity can also calm the restless vital. As soon as luminosity enters into the vital, the restless vital becomes the dynamic vital. Each and every seeker needs a dynamic vital; it is of supreme importance. If you can enter into the heart and bring forward your golden luminosity, then your restless vital will become dynamic. Or if you can bring to the fore the soul's poise, the soul's poise will act immediately — like magic.

The most important thing in our spiritual life is the soul. It is the only thing that keeps us connected to our Lord Supreme. You may not be able to see it or feel it, but it exists. The soul knows no barriers. It is beyond time and space; it is eternally free. It carries our Immortality. To grow into the light of the soul and fulfil the soul is to please the Supreme in His own Way.

Unfortunately, there are many seekers for whom the soul has no reality. It has no reality for them because they do not value it. If you value the existence of the soul, then you are bound to feel it and one day see it. If we give utmost importance to the soul, then all our problems will be solved. The more we can give conscious importance to the soul, the faster will the burdens of our body, the restlessness of our vital, the impurity of our mind and the insecurity of our heart be eliminated. This is true for each and every God-seeker.

Have faith in your soul. If you repeat "I am the soul," all the negative, unaspiring qualities of your body, vital, mind and heart — everything that is standing in your way — will have to surrender. All the imperfections of your inner and outer existence will drop away, for there cannot be any negative forces or imperfections in the soul.

  1. MHO 1. Midtown Plaza Hotel, Cebu City, 8 January 1993.

Part II

MHO 2-5. These questions asked by Ursula Aznar-Schoeler and her family were answered by Sri Chinmoy during a visit to their jewellery factory in Talisay, Cebu, on 10 January 1993.

Question: I once saw a picture in my mind of a sword and a snake. The image keeps coming back to my mind as if it wants to make sure that I don't forget it. Can you tell me the spiritual significance?

Sri Chinmoy: What was your feeling while looking at the snake?

Answer: I felt inner peace and a kind of joy, but afterwards confusion entered.

Sri Chinmoy: Was the snake black or grey, or was it red or another colour?

Answer: It was coloured.

Sri Chinmoy: In your case, the snake represents dynamic life-energy. In India we have a cosmic god whose function on earth is to transform human beings. There are quite a few snakes around his neck. If the snakes are coloured, they represent dynamic energy. This dynamic energy constantly gives us new hope and new promise and also protects us from doing wrong things.

The body, by nature, is lethargic, idle; it does not want to move. But if there is dynamic energy inside the body, then immediately the body starts functioning. We get up, we walk, we run, we do many things for our lives.

The vital can be restless. This restlessness is not good, we all know. At every moment we are only shaking our life-tree. But if dynamic energy is flowing up to the top and then coming back down, if energy is percolating throughout the entire life-tree, then each and every branch of the life-tree will be full of strength and vigour, and the life-tree will produce most beautiful flowers and fruits.

If dynamic energy is flowing in the heart, then loneliness, depression and frustration will disappear, because the life-river is flowing and flowing, murmuring, running towards the vast ocean which is all dynamism on the surface and peace at the bottom. On the surface, the ocean is all waves and surges, but underneath it is all peace. Similarly on the outside, the life-energy is very dynamic, but the source of this energy is poise, inner silence.

When you see a sword surrounded with dynamic life-energy, you have to know that this sword is not for destruction as such, not to kill human beings, but to destroy the ignorance that each human being has hidden inside him. So this sword has to be used to destroy the ignorance inside you and inside others. This is the sword of a divine soldier who is trying to destroy the things that are preventing us from becoming good citizens of the world and perfect instruments of God. The sword is destroying the ignorance that is not allowing us to proceed, to dive deep within and to fly high, higher, highest, and the snake is the cosmic energy that is liberating us from our imperfections.

Question: Could you say something about the role of Mother Mary?

Sri Chinmoy: The role of Mother Mary is unique. From the seed we get the plant, the tree, the flowers and the fruits. The Mother of the Saviour was responsible for the vision, aspiration and realisation of Her Son. Her silent prayer helped the Son considerably. Whenever we see the baby Christ with Mother Mary, immediately we feel that the beauty and fragrance of the creation, of Mother-Earth, are embodied inside the child. Or we can say that Mother-Earth has given everything that she has and that she is to the child, the Christ.

All the divine qualities of the Divine Mother, Mother Mary has, but Her Compassion aspect always comes to the fore. Inside Her Compassion is Her Forgiveness, and inside Her Forgiveness is Wisdom. When She forgives, it is not like ordinary forgiveness. With ordinary forgiveness, even after we are forgiven, again we start doing the same thing wrong. But when Mother Mary forgives us, She also gives us the message of wisdom, so that we do not repeat our mistake. She is always ready to help the individual who is not doing the right thing with Her Wisdom-Light.

When we think of God, especially in the Christian world, we feel that He is taller than the tallest — infinitely taller than the Himalayas — or far above us somewhere in Heaven. When we pray to God our Father who is in Heaven, we feel that if we pray and pray, someday we may be able to touch the Feet of God. It is difficult for us to immediately feel His Heart. We feel His Protection aspect or His Power aspect. But when we pray to Mother Mary, we immediately feel Her Heart. When we pray to God, we think of God the Omnipotent. With His Power He can destroy this old creation and build a new creation. With His Power He can also protect us. But when we pray to Mother Mary, immediately we feel the presence of God the Compassion. Her Compassion is inside Her Heart and nowhere else.

People who love God as Mother Mary feel that their prayers immediately enter into Her Heart. There Her Compassion, Her Affection, Her Love, Her Concern, Her constant Self-Offering to mankind can be felt. When we think of Mary, we feel that inside Her Heart She is feeding us, nourishing us with Her Affection, Compassion, Love, Concern and sleepless Self-Giving. She is always showing Her Affection and Compassion for those who consciously want to be Her special children. We are all Her children, but some want to be conscious children of Mother Mary. They are very fortunate because they consciously want to remain inside Her Heart and be nourished and fed with Her divine Nectar at every moment in their life of prayer, in their life of aspiration and in their life of dedication.

Question: I have gone through so many hardships in trying to build up my business here. I almost went bankrupt; somebody stole so much from us and the place was destroyed by a typhoon. Do we have to go through those experiences so that we will become stronger or did we do something wrong on the way?

Sri Chinmoy: From the outer point of view, life is a constant struggle; we are constantly in the battlefield of life. Everybody goes through hardship in order achieve something, in order to arrive at the destination. If God has infinite Compassion, and if we are His children, why do we have to go through such hardship? He has everything; He has infinite Wealth. Can He not give us everything free of charge? Can He not inundate our lives with His Riches: love, light and prosperity?

The question we have to ask ourselves is: are we trying to be really happy? Are we longing for the happiness that will last forever and at the same time transcend and transcend, that will increase in infinite measure? Many, many times in the ordinary life, when parents are extremely rich and children do not have to do anything, the children misuse their parents wealth. Because they have got everything at their disposal, they do not value anything.

Similarly, God can give us everything, but we will not value it. Let us say you bring the most beautiful flower from the Philippines and give it to your daughter. First she will observe it, and then perhaps she will wonder how this flower has come into existence, how its petals were born. Some restless forces in her will compel her to examine it like a doctor or a scientist. She will start pressing and pulling the petals, and soon the whole flower will be ruined. Some forces inside her will not allow her to only appreciate, admire and grow into the beauty and fragrance of the flower.

If she had created the flower, if she had been responsible for sowing the seed and had waited for months to see the product of her seed, then she would never think of destroying the flower. She would try to become one with the beauty and fragrance of the flower. She would say, "Oh, how I wish I could become as pure, as beautiful, as lovely, as divine as the flower."

In our lives, many, many times we encounter hardships. Why? So that we will value the divinity within us that is compelling us, urging us to move forward, to fly upward, to dive deep within every day, consciously, soulfully and self-givingly to increase our divine qualities. God is always helping us. If we play our own role in this divinely ordained task, then we feel that we are worthy to be the choicest children of our Absolute Lord Supreme. That is why we go through these so-called hardships.

When we go deep within, we feel that it was not actually we who suffered while going through these hardships. Somebody else acted and suffered in and through us. We just became the witness. When we feel that we are the doer, we suffer so much. But when our consciousness goes higher, it becomes clear to us that God is the only Doer who performs every action in order to become the divinely supreme Enjoyer of His creation.

Question: Is it possible for spirits speaking through mediums to falsely claim that they are this or that spiritual figure? Are spirits speaking through mediums genuine, false or mixed?

Sri Chinmoy: At times they are genuine. At times they are just a mixture of human feelings. Sometimes our imagination is very strong. Sometimes we are drinking pure milk and sometimes we put powder in water and it looks so white that we feel it is real milk.

There are good spirits and evil spirits. Sometimes good spirits may not be as strong as the bad spirits. So we have to be careful. Suppose there are two sisters. One is very pure, always tells the truth and does the right thing. The other one is very naughty and destructive. The parents have given the same freedom to both daughters, but they exercise their freedom in different ways. One is ready to go to church, to pray and to do the right thing to please the parents. The other one consciously does everything wrong. The ignorant one tries to punish or destroy the good one. So what will the parents do? They will consciously try to help the good sister. As soon as the good sister does something, they will give her a powerful smile which will strengthen her good qualities. The bad one will say, "Am I not also your daughter? Am I not her sister?" The parents will say, "No, what you are doing is wrong." Then the bad one will feel helpless. She will say, "If I don't act the way my sister is acting, I will be nowhere." The negative forces have to be taught by making the good forces stronger. You have to always consciously take the side of the good forces.

But sometimes our very human nature enjoys destruction. It takes two or three years or even more to build a house. Then we get joy in destroying that house or in seeing that house be destroyed. We have a special festival in Chittagong, in India. The villagers gather together and spend the whole day building a house. Then, in the evening, they set fire to the house and enjoy its destruction. They give the spiritual reason that creation and destruction must go together. That is the village way of thinking.

But we believe in the positive approach. From beauty we will try to get more beauty. From purity we will try to get more purity. From divinity we will try to get more divinity. If we take this approach, our bad qualities will eventually come to feel that they are not being appreciated and will go away. In the beginning it may be painful for us to separate our good qualities from our bad qualities. But if we walk only towards our goal, gradually all the wrong qualities or the burdens that we have been carrying will drop off because those heavy loads do not care for the destination that we have in mind.

So there are many spirits operating that are not at all divine. They are misleading and misguiding people. You have to be very, very careful when you go to mediums and pray to God, to the Saviour or to Mother Mary only to be connected with the good spirits. If you go there with the intention of being blessed and of increasing your divine qualities, then you have to be in touch only with the good spirits Consciously pray to the good spirits to keep you under their guidance and protection so that you will not in any way be in touch with the evil spirits.

Part III

MHO 6-21. These questions were answered on 12 and 13 January 1993 at the Insular Hotel in Davao.

Question: When I make a resolution, how can I have the determination to follow through with it?

Sri Chinmoy: Is there anybody on earth who does not have that problem? My older brother Mantu's resolution is that he will never, never read the newspaper; he feels it is a waste of time. Every year his New Year's resolution is that he will not read the newspaper because it is all falsehood. Then early in the morning a friend or relative will stop by and say, "Did you hear such and such?" That is enough for him! Then my brother goes to the library and spends an hour and a half reading the newspaper.

You can keep your resolutions only by not seeing the past. Let us say you have failed to keep a particular resolution many, many times. Do not think of how many times you have failed; that has no value. Do not feel that you have been studying and failing this particular subject for many years and that the teacher is giving you chance after chance to study it again. No, you have to feel that you are learning a completely new subject. The subject you are studying, which is self-discipline, you are starting right now for the first time. If you can feel this, then the number of times that you have failed will go away from your mind. Otherwise, each time you fail, the depression, frustration or sadness that you feel becomes a heavy load, an elephant that you have to carry on your shoulders. Look at how many heavy loads you have been carrying around in your mind all these years! That is one of the reasons you are finding it difficult to keep your resolutions.

Another thing you have to know is that our determination to keep a resolution never depends on personal effort. We can say we will do it by hook or by crook. But even that hook and crook will only accomplish one per cent; for the rest we have to depend on God's Grace. And if we are sincere, even that one per cent that represents our personal effort we will say is all due to God's Grace. If we set the alarm clock in order to get up early in the morning to pray and meditate, then we have to feel that God's Grace is operating in and through the alarm. It is also due to God's Grace that we were inspired to set the alarm the previous night. Here God's Grace is coming in the form of inspiration and wisdom. Everything positive that we do comes from a higher Source, which is God's Grace and God's Compassion. An athlete may feel that if he practises very hard, then he will become the world's fastest runner or strongest boxer. But it is not like that. There are many athletes who perhaps practise more than Carl Lewis. So how is it that he is becoming number one? It is because God's Grace is operating in and through him, and he is more receptive than others. No amount of practice is enough without God's Grace.

God is all the time exercising or expressing His own Capacity, Compassion and Grace through human beings. But most of the time we human beings are not grateful to God. We should be grateful to God that He has kept us on the path, that He keeps us from time to time thinking of Him, praying to Him and meditating on Him, that He inspires us to offer our goodwill to mankind. Because human beings are not grateful enough to God, He is unable to make progress in and through us. Every human being has a vessel into which God wants to pour His Nectar-Delight, His Compassion, His Blessings and His Divinity. But, unfortunately, because of our life of ingratitude, instead of enlarging the vessel every day, we are making it smaller.

Each day we should express our gratitude to God for what we are. No matter how bad we are, we could have been infinitely worse. People think, "How can I become worse? Have I not touched the rock bottom?" No, I tell you, if God wants to, He can make you infinitely worse. When we suffer physically, vitally or mentally, we feel that it is the height of suffering. But if God wants to experience infinitely more suffering in and through us, He can. When we are not one with God's Will, we feel that we are suffering and that God is indifferent. But when we become one with God's Will, we see that it is God who is suffering in and through us.

Right now you may not be able to see God. But you can certainly feel God's Presence. If you can feel God's Presence inside you, then you can mould and shape your life into a more receptive and perfect instrument of God.

Question: You say that when we are suffering we should try to feel the presence of the Supreme. But one of the reasons human beings suffer is that we feel separated from the Supreme. So where does one begin that effort?

Sri Chinmoy: If you cannot think of the Supreme, then think of your physical mother or any relative or friend of yours with whom you have established a connection over the years. Since you were a child, there is bound to be someone with whom you have established your oneness. When you are suffering, imagine that individual is standing right in front of you.

I always say that imagination is a reality. The person you are imagining may not even be alive. When I suffer physically, mentally or in any way, immediately I see my physical mother right in front of me, although she is in the other world. You can say that in my case it is different because I have free access to my mother, but you definitely know someone who was most compassionate or most affectionate to you. The Supreme you may not know; you have not seen Him. But some other person you have seen many, many times in your life. If that particular person who has been so compassionate and affectionate stands in front of you, then I tell you, that person will in no way suffer less than you are suffering.

When disciples who have a close connection with me suffer physically or mentally, at that time I suffer much more than they do. Outwardly I may give a smile or just say, "Everything will be fine; it will go away." But afterwards, before I even take two steps, I enter into the soul of that person and do the needful. If the person has established a close connection with me, I may not look at that person again in order to show how sincerely concerned, sincerely caring and compassionate I am. But immediately I will work inside the soul and the heart of that person. At that time how much I suffer on their behalf!

So if you can imagine the presence of the person who is closest to you in front of you, sympathising with you with utmost sincerity, then definitely you will feel less pain. It may be more than one person; there may be ten or twenty individuals standing in front of you and sympathising with your suffering.

If somebody dies in your family and a few relatives come and sincerely try to console you, if they share your sufferings, your sorrows and your loss, then you feel much better. Some may not be able to come physically, but still you can remember them and know that if they were physically present, they would show the same kind of consolation, the same kind of oneness.

Question: If you had known how things would turn out, would you still have accepted me as your disciple?

Sri Chinmoy: I would have accepted you even if you were infinitely worse. Also, if you become infinitely worse, I shall still keep you. No matter where you go, I will be with you. But if you wish to be a true God-seeker, then every day, every hour and every minute you will try to lead a better life. You have to know the value of God's Smile and the value of His Sadness. When you do something, try to imagine God's smiling Face or His sad Face. If you do not want to see His Sadness, then many bad things you will not do. And if you value His Happiness, then the good things that you do you will increase. You will say, "This makes God happy, so let me do it ten times, twenty times, fifty times."

Question: What is the secret of perfect manifestation?

Sri Chinmoy: The secret of manifestation is constant, cheerful self-giving minus jealousy and minus insecurity.

Question: Do we come back with the same body, vital and mind?

Sri Chinmoy: No, we do not come back with the same body, vital and mind. But if the body, vital and mind are very, very pure, extremely, extremely pure, then the quintessence of that purity can enter into the heart. And if the heart is pure, then the quintessence of the heart's purity can enter into the soul and be preserved. The physical body that we take will never be the same in the next incarnation. When we die, the physical consciousness, vital consciousness and mental consciousness we have to leave at different places. The soul does not take them with it when it goes up to the higher worlds. But if you have done something very, very good, then the essence or quintessence of your achievement can enter into the higher realities along with the soul.

Question: How can I have sweetness in my singing?

Sri Chinmoy: For the most haunting voice, for a soft, delicate, sweet quality in the voice, you have to open the throat chakra.

In some cases it does not come from the throat chakra. There are some world-famous singers who will get zero in the spiritual world because their singing comes from the navel chakra. The vital also can have a very subtle, delicate feeling, but the capacity of the vital is limited. It may last for 20, 30, 40 or 50 years, but at the end of the life of that particular singer, it will end.

But if somebody can bring the very subtle, delicate, sweet, soulful quality from the throat chakra, then it lasts forever. Not only that, it helps to raise the consciousness of mankind. Many famous singers touch the vital of others, but they are never going to raise the consciousness of any human being, not to speak of their own consciousness. Millions of people may appreciate these singers, but they are appreciating their songs from the vital plane. Because the vital and the heart are very close to each other, sometimes we feel that the heart is also getting joy when the vital is excited. No, the heart is not getting anything. But if the music comes from the throat chakra, the body, vital, mind, heart and soul will all benefit.

There is also another way to make your voice sweeter. While singing, try to think of your heart. As soon as you start singing the first line, try to feel that something is coming out from your heart into the song. Try to sing each line from the heart. Or while you are singing, feel that not only the melody but the words are coming through your nostrils. While you are singing, you are opening your mouth, but each and every word is passing through your nostrils because the life-breath is going out from there. Where the life-breath is coming in and going out there is tremendous sweetness.

Question: How do we know if we are pleasing God?

Sri Chinmoy: We can easily know if we are pleasing God, because there will be a cheerful feeling not only inside our heart but also inside our thoughts. Inside the heart there will be something at every moment that will make us feel that we are doing the right thing, and this will give us happiness. At the same time, encouraging and inspiring thoughts will come into our mind and give us satisfaction. So if we get satisfaction inside our heart and inside our thoughts, then we can know that we are pleasing God. Real satisfaction does not come from the pleasure-life. It only comes from pleasing God in His own Way.

Question: Did God give us short memories so that we don't know why we are getting certain karma from previous incarnations?

Sri Chinmoy: God has done us a big favour by giving us short memories because if we remember what we have done wrong, then we will feel even more miserable. The result of our undivine actions is painful enough in itself. If we start thinking of the karma that caused this result, it becomes even more painful.

After a thorn has been removed from your foot, even then your foot may be hurting you. But if you actually saw the thorn while it was still inside your foot, the very image of the thorn would give you more suffering. You would think, "Oh my God, such a destructive thing!" Or suppose you step on a piece of glass. If the image of that sharp piece of glass flows before your mind, then even though it has been removed, you will suffer more because you know the cause of your suffering.

If we forget the thing that originally created the problem for us, then we decrease our suffering by almost half. We get whatever punishment we deserve, but because we do not remember the actual event that led to our punishment, our suffering is less.

Question: Will our universe become a black hole when the universe ends?

Sri Chinmoy: The universe can never be destroyed. Let us use the term 'world'. The world is such a vast place. No matter how many bombs are dropped, total destruction cannot take place. But if someone has dropped a bomb and destroyed my house, then in my mind my whole world is gone. We use the term 'world' according to our mental conception.

As long as God wants to keep His creation, the whole universe will not be destroyed. A portion may be destroyed, but if we see that portion with our inner eye, we will see that it is an infinitesimal portion of the entire reality, which we call the universe. A few mischievous boys may play with fireworks and destroy their own house or a few houses around them, but there are millions and billions of houses, and they cannot destroy all of them. In Japan, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed, but Japan is not the whole world. Again, Hiroshima and Nagasaki have been reborn. They have now become sacred peace shrines.

This world will never end, because inside the world is God's own Vision, God's own Hope, God's own Promise. If a potter creates a few vessels, a mad animal may for no reason come and destroy some of the vessels. But the potter can easily create more. God is the Creator. At every second he can create a new world.

From the spiritual point of view, if people are not aspiring, if people are living only in the desire-world, then you can call it the destruction of our aspiration. But the physical universe cannot be destroyed at any particular time.